Friday, I watched flmmaker Harmony Korine’s latest flick, ‘Spring Breakers’, + it’s definitely a ‘must see’. Most critics have already panned it as basically being a waste of time, full of debauchery or just another flick with lots of tits, sex, drugs + lots + lots of beer! Spring Break has always been a time for college students to take that much needed R+R which usually entails drinking with abandon, hooking up with a lot of people, even if they were never your type, with occasional doses of drug experimentation if not excessive amounts – a rite of passage, if you will. Hollywood, for the most part, has always managed to recreate unrealistic sitches but this flick is an exception with Korine behind the lens. Unlike very few directors, he can make anything uncomfortable palpable to the point where he seduces you into coming along for the ride, while you’re shaking your head ‘no’ but still loving every guilty moment. In this case, discomfort is so well packaged in hope + fantasy for something new, that you don’t realize how it’s all going to unravel before your eyes, until someone gets hurt, violently waking you up from your dream. Director Harmony Korine even admitted to Salon that the film is ‘hyper-reality’.
But this film is all about the dream, for however long it’s supposed to last, to see anything different besides the same everyday four walls, perfectly captured by Korine by the use of repetition of scenes or lines like, ‘Spring Break 4Ever Bitches.’ For the four girls in the movie including Disney Princesses Selena Gomez (as Faith) + Vanessa Hudgens (Candy), joined by Ashley Benson (Brit) + his wife, Rachel Korine (Cotty), their only cure for wanderlust is spring break. But wait, they have no money for spring break, so now what (yet, have money for drugs – gotta love their priorities)? – Steal of course! When they make it to Florida, mayhem ensues + then they meet Alien, brilliantly played by James Franco, along with the ATL Twins, as part of his crew, whom are that ill even in real life, no joke (more on that later). At this point, the dream bubble starts to burst as you hear ‘This isn’t what I signed up for,’ said over + over again.
Early on, we see how apropos the character being named Faith (Selena) is while seeing her attend so many prayer circles, which made Selena Gomez’s innocent face perfect for her role. The film then cuts to another scene where we meet the ‘Trinity’ which includes Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Brit (Ashley Benson) + Cotty (Rachel Korine), all of Faith’s friends since kindergarten. When the four girls get together, they play around in the hallways doing handstands, as if in kindergarten, showing glimpses of the innocence they once had. The ‘Trinity’ unfortunately, doesn’t seem to have as much going for them as Faith (at least on the surface) but they too want to escape to spring break with not enough money, so they decide to steal, a defining moment for them, as well as for us, watching them act completely fearless + cold, which serves them well throughout. Of course, you can’t forget how cool they look in their getaway car, a stolen El Camino from a teacher, which they later torch after the robbery.
Once in Florida, it’s all about pastel scooters, neon bikinis, on or off, mirrored sunglasses, drugs + lots of beer. It was a bit weird to see Selena Gomez doing a line of coke but that’s the extent of her character’s debauchery, whereas the other three, well, fill in the blanks – Vanessa Hudgens is the only Disney Princess that really went the distance which included sex scenes. The camera pans back + forth, from scenes on the bathroom floor, to bedrooms, the pool + the beach, where they see Alien for the first time, performing. See, Alien, played by James Franco, is your typical renaissance thug, who not only sells drugs, he raps too, repeating his favorite line if not, mantra, of ‘bikinis + big booties’, donning corn rows + double grills. At one point, the girls start talking about hoping their lives where more like this + if only life could freeze that way, wanting spring break forever yet, all they had to do was to smoke a lot of killer weed, take designer drugs + feel the love of house music, taking you anywhere, deep within the recesses of my mind, like I did.
Eventually, a raid gets the girls arrested, needing to post bail or stay in jail for two days. In comes Alien to save the day but at what cost, which is the question Faith keeps asking herself while trying to convince the ‘Trinity’ to leave with her. Faith leaves the ‘Trinity’ behind + Alien then notices how sympatico the ‘Trinity’ + he truly are, saying ‘you’re my motherfucking soulmates’. This admission of course, doesn’t come before Alien brags how he created his empire, including his car with ‘BALLR’ plates, rooms full of guns with several on top of a bed full of cash but better yet, when he points out the picture of ‘Scarface’s Tony Montana’, the patron saint of hanging on his wall + how he has the film on ‘REPEAT, YO, ON REPEAT!’ Alien then brags about his nunchucks + how he has ‘Calvin Klein Escape’ + ‘Calvin Klein Be’ fragrances (no offense to Calvin), as he sprays them in the air, trying to impress the girls – then again, what do they really know.
The girls just inhale all of it in, grabbing the cash, smelling it, with one even saying, ‘Look, it makes my tits look bigger,’ as she stuffs her bikini top with it. The girls adopt this new found life + just look at each other like they’ve finally scored big + a better life awaits. Then comes the scene that was one of the best ones, which was both creepy yet poetic, where Alien is at a white piano poolside + one by one the girls come out wearing pink ski masks with a unicorn + each holding a shotgun. One of them asks him to play something inspiring before they go out on their crime spree + Alien plays what he calls, a classic, ‘Everytime’ by Britney Spears. As he plays, there’s a scene where you see the girls pirouetting around in some form of twisted ‘ballet’, that is perfectly choreographed with loaded shotguns as props, which then is interspersed by other scenes of the girls going on their crime spree. The dream dips at this point, where you hear Franco’s character repeat ‘spring break’ a few times, as if a lullaby or words to ease your worries.
Eventually, we get to see how much of an amateur Alien really is + how much the girls really love their new life. In the end, with an outcome that is so miraculously farfetched, just reinforces the fact of how this is all a ‘dream’ or Harmony Korine’s ‘hyper-reality’.